Catocala mira

Catocala mira
Grote, 1876

Catocala mira female, Louisiana, by Vernon Antoine Brou.

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Superfamily: Noctuoidea
Family: Noctuidae
Group: Noctuinina
Subfamily: Catocalinae
Genus: Catocala, Schrank, 1802


"Moon River"
copyright C. Odenkirk

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Catocala mira, the Wonderful Underwing, (wingspan: 40-50mm) flies from Manitoba through southern Ontario and Quebec through New Hampshire. (not in Maine) and in Connecticut to Florida, west to Texas (June) and north through Iowa and Illinois and Michigan, (Catocala mira courtesy of Harry Dale King). Tom Middagh has sent Catocala mira recto and verso images from Minnesota.

This species has also been reported in Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Catocala mira, Peterborough, Ontario, August 18, 2004, courtesy of Tim Dyson copyright

Catocala mira, Peterborough, Ontario, August 11, 2004, courtesy of Tim Dyson copyright

The pale basal area of the forewing distinguishes mira from blandula (dark brown) and crataegi (black).

Catocala mira, Calumet County, Wisconsin, July 8, 2007, courtesy of Carroll Rudy.

In Catocala mira the basal area is grey and lighter than in either C. blandula or C. crataegi. There is a thin black dash emanating from the body (midpoint of wing juncture) about 1/3 of the way into the basal area.

The antemedian line is dark and distinct, running quite obliquely toward the anal angle, for its upper half. The lower half of the am line is indistinct and turns toward and continues to the inner margin.

The median area has a distinct light area, almost white, running from the subreniform spot to the costa, just above the dark, oblique am line. The subreniform spot is closed, outlined with a thin dark line and inwardly filled with light brown. The reniform spot is outlined in black with a smooth C-like curve (right forewing) toward the body. Darker, grey-brown scaling fills this upper spot, and the reniform spot is outlined in white, more prevalent toward the outer margin. The wing veins are often distinctly covered in black scales in the area just ouitside the reniform spot.

The postmedian line is distinct, beginning at the costa just above the reniform spot. The pm runs obliquely to the upper tooth, usually followed by a somewhat shorter tooth and then an almost smooth curve to the dark dash, paralleling the inner margin.

The subterminal area is a mix of mostly brown scales with some grey and white, just inside the subterminal line. The terminal area is grey and the veins are usually pronounced with black scaling.

On the hindwing the black inner band is very irregular, relatively thin and makes a complete loop back toward the body. The yellow-orange median band is relatively even/smooth to the first of two projections into the outer band. The fringe is orange and heavily checked, often lighter to white at the hw apex.

Catocala mira, August 11, 2004,
courtesy of Tim Dyson copyright.

Moths come in to lights and to bait.


Catocala mira are usually on the wing from July to August, earlier in Texas.

The Catocala mira caterpillar shows a preference for hawthorn species.


Adults eclose from pupae at soil surface.


Catocala mira females emit an airbourne pheromone and males use their antennae to track the scent plume.


Eggs are deposited on tree bark in the fall and hatch the following spring.

Larval Food Plants

Listed below are primary food plant(s) and alternate food plants. It is hoped that this alphabetical listing followed by the common name of the foodplant will prove useful. The list is not exhaustive, although some species seem very host specific. Experimenting with closely related foodplants is worthwhile.



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